Planner’s Perspective: How to Select Your Perfect Wedding Venue

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Planner's Perspective | Wedding Venues

If you’ve been dreaming about your wedding for your entire life, then chances are that at least a few of those dreams have included a very specific setting. But whether you’re instinctively drawn to the rustic ambiance of a ranch wedding or have a more traditional ballroom affair in mind, there are a few essential questions every couple should consider before booking a venue for the Big Day. Since Laura managed hundreds of events as a coordinator for Ashton Gardens before working as a DFW Events planner, we consider her our in-house venue guru. Read on for her top tips and the five questions that will help determine your perfect event space!


[Laura’s headshot: Karlisch Photography | Brook Hollow Golf Club: Edmonson Weddings]

Question One: “Indoor or outdoor?”

“Consider this basic question your starting point when identifying potential wedding venues. Answering it from the get-go will automatically simplify your search!”

Ranch Wedding | DFW Events | Stephen Karlisch

Ranch Wedding | DFW Events | Stephen Karlisch

[Outdoor ceremony and reception on private ranch, Texas Hill Country | Karlisch Photography]

Brook Hollow | DFW Events | John Cain Photography

[Brook Hollow Golf Club, Dallas | John Cain Photography]

Question Two: “How would you describe your style?”

“When it’s time to start narrowing down your options, think about your personal style. Are you drawn to modern and contemporary looks with a preference for clean lines? Consider booking a museum for your ceremony or reception—The Modern in Fort Worth, The Nasher, and the Dallas Museum of Art are all beautiful options that don’t necessarily require a lot of extra table décor.”

The Modern Fort Worth | DFW Events | Taylor Lord Photography

The Modern Fort Worth Reception | DFW Events | Taylor Lord Photography

The Modern Fort Worth Reception | DFW Events | Taylor Lord Photography

[The Modern Fort Worth | Taylor Lord Photography]

“If your tastes are very traditional, a church ceremony and a reception at a hotel ballroom or country club might appeal to you. The Crescent, The Ritz, Arlington Hall, Brook Hollow Country Club, and Dallas Country Club are just a few examples of venues with a very classic feel!”

Park Cities Presbyterian Church | John Cain Photography

[Park Cities Presbyterian Church, Dallas | John Cain Photography]

Rosewood Mansion | DFW Events | Jess Barfield Photography

Rosewood Mansion | DFW Events | Jess Barfield Photography

[Rosewood Mansion, Dallas | Jess Barfield Photography]

Question Three: “What are my décor and rental needs?”

“If questions one and two have helped you determine that an outdoor wedding in a setting that is not typically used as an event space—this includes a ranch, field, or even your own backyard—is for you, keep in mind that you will most likely need to bring in absolutely everything from the ground up. We’re talking tables, chairs, linens, and back-of-house catering rentals, plus a trucking service, a generator, a dance floor, and a valet company just to name a few. You will also need to secure an air-conditioned tent in case of rain or extreme temperatures on your wedding day. Don’t let that scare you, though. If you’re open to the idea of managing these additional details or have hired an event planner to help manage them for you, this can be an extremely rewarding way to build a completely unique event space!”

Backyard Wedding | Photography by Jason Kindig

[Backyard reception at private residence | Jason Kindig Photography]

Outdoor wedding on private estate | DFW Events | Andrea Polito Photography

[Outdoor wedding ceremony on the lawn of a private estate | Andrea Polito Photography]

“By contrast, country clubs, ballrooms, and other traditional event venues maintain a supply of house linens, house chairs, tables, and in-house catering rentals, and will also provide your catering services. While this option will probably save you some time, it won’t always save you money—especially if you’re planning to outfit the space with custom décor, which will require sourcing outside vendors.”

Escondido Golf and Lake Club

[Escondido Golf and Lake Club, Horseshoe Bay | Taylor Lord Photography]

Question Four: “What are my power and sound needs?”

“If you’re planning to have a live band at your ceremony or reception, ensure that your venue has the necessary power and circuits. A back-up generator will be required if your power needs exceed your venue’s capability or if you’re planning an outdoor wedding. And don’t forget to inquire about lighting! Some venues keep their lighting on dimmers, which provides a built-in transition from dinner to the dance floor, whereas other spaces might benefit from an additional lighting package.”

Southern Hills | DFW Events | Stephen Karlisch Photography

[Custom build-out at Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa | Karlisch Photography]

Question Five: “How much time do I need for set-up?”

“Load-in and strike times are of major importance for your vendors, so make sure to ask your potential venue what time set-up can begin on the day of your wedding. Dedicated event spaces will typically allow set-up to begin early in the day, but locations that primarily function as public spaces—think art galleries and restaurants—might restrict set-up to after the five o’clock hour. If you choose a venue with this kind of time constraint, be prepared to pay an additional fee to cover the cost of the extra laborers it will take to prep your event space in a shortened time frame.”

Outdoor Wedding | DFW Events | Sarah Kate, Photographer

[Marie Gabrielle, Dallas | Sarah Kate, Photographer]

The bottom line? Spend some time thinking about the look and feel of your wedding as a whole, and then choose the venue and vendors that are best equipped to bring that vision to life!

In need of a little pin-spiration? Stop by our “Venues” board on Pinterest!